I almost never get sick -- maybe a mild cold once a year. When I was a kid, the only days of school I ever missed from kindergarten through high school were when I was unconscious during a bout with malaria (we lived abroad for a while). This is good because I don't have time to be sick.
I'm not particularly ill now, but I have lost my voice. I had to cancel one talk, fortunately a local one that I could easily reschedule for next week. I hated to cancel for today, but without my voice, my only other options were mime and interpretive dance, and those didn't seem like good ideas for today. I am hoping that I will be back to speaking by the time I have to teach tomorrow.
Today was also not a good day to be speechless because I had to remain largely silent in a department meeting, and I had things to say, especially when one colleague commented critically about an FSP at another university. He said that she had "deliberately" caused a rift in her department by "insisting" that the department hire her husband. She even went so far as to get an offer from another university and then blackmailed her department into giving her husband a tenure-track job. Apparently the department was a harmonious place until she came along.
I could not let those comments pass unremarked, so I sort of whisper-yelled all my key points in quick succession: "What other choice did she have? Do you criticize men who get other offers and make demands? Her department didn't have to hire her husband. Of course she didn't set out of cause a rift." and then a few other colleagues (male, female, single, married) added similar points until the offending colleague retreated by saying that he was just repeating what he'd heard. The Chair, who is terminally Nice, thanked him for his comments and said that it was important that he had shared them with us. [factoid: this colleague has a stay-at-home wife]
I think this colleague, who is somewhat new to the US academic culture, should be encouraged to become better informed rather than just thanked for sharing. It may be too late to change his opinions, but he should know what is relevant information for a faculty meeting and what is sexist gossip. There is room for many points of view on the complicated issue of the 2-Body Problem in academia, but criticizing a woman for doing exactly what the current academic system requires is not fair.
Later, another colleague started droning on about one of his favorite points (berating the rest of us for not being as dedicated to students as he is), and it just so happened that at that exact moment I had to cough a lot, so I thought it most polite to leave.
9 months ago